Falling in love can be one of the most fulfilling and surprising experiences of your life. Not only can it blindside you, but it can really throw you for a loop. You likely have your list of wants and needs in a partner. But when you find yourself falling head over heels for something you never knew you needed, you could be left thanking your lucky stars. And questioning every relationship before, and after.
Love comes in so many forms at such unexpected times. It can sometimes be rationalized and reasoned with:
They treat me so well.
They love me so much.
I’ve never felt this way before.
I know this time it’s different.
They make me feel so special.
I don’t want anyone else.
But sometimes the question, “Why do you love them?” or “How did this happen?” can only be answered with a simple, “I don’t know.”
I was less than impressed the first two weeks of my friendship. He was, by all means, attractive but I was smitten with someone else at the time. And I just didn’t feel anything for him. After we started developing our relationship, I felt myself falling for him. And considering he fit the description perfectly of someone I explicitly claimed I never wanted in a romantic interest, it took us both by surprise. This man had never been in a relationship, never been intimate with anyone, and was a devout follower of a faith I tend to keep my distance from. But it didn’t matter. I wanted a happy, healthy relationship with him, and those attributes themselves didn’t determine whether or not that was possible. What did make that determination was this man’s unwillingness to break out of his own comfort zone and date someone of a different race, religion, and value system. In the end, not only did the possibility of a romance whither, so did our friendship.
I learned a lot from this experience. Namely, that loving someone can feel both liberating and imprisoning, energizing and exhausting. So although you may not be able to control who you love when you are in the midst of the emotion, you can control your behaviors. And you can redirect your thoughts if they are causing you strife. You may need to break away from this person or anything that reminds you of them until the feelings subside. Then, hopefully, you can resume your happy, healthy friendship. Or whatever relationship you had prior to your dance with devotion.
But if loving someone is bringing you happiness and joy, welcome it with open arms. Embrace the experience and use it to soften your boundaries. Particularly ones that are trite and don’t have much real benefit to a potential relationship. Go through your list and ask yourself what is really a necessity, a deal breaker, and which qualities are just preferences:
Sense of humor
Find out what’s really important to you in love. Then be open to adjusting your list as you evolve with your love.